Conservatives stoke fears of diseased immigrant children

When in doubt, conservatives can always resort to the old standby for immigrant scaremongering and hate: disease.

If you’ve ever been to Ellis Island, you’ve seen how immigrants were treated when they arrived: like diseased vermin until they could prove they weren’t. Nothing has changed.

IBM and Apple ties go way back

The recently announced enterprise partnership between Apple and IBM has raised a few eyebrows, to say the least. But you need to remember that 25 years ago IBM helped Apple survive by partnering with them on the PowerPC chip.

Apple was using the Motorola 68K family but it had fallen behind in the race against Intel’s x86 family. The PowerPC, which was more than competitive, gave Apple a fighting chance once again.

Interestingly, even though Apple no longer uses them, the PowerPC architecture lives on in gaming circles as the basis of both the XBox and the Playstation.

Using SDR to talk to a 36-year-old space probe

When NASA gave permission for a group of enthusiasts to attempt to reconnect the ISEE-3 probe, one of the big problems they needed to solve was communicating with something that was launched in the late 1970s. The solution involves software defined radio (SDR) via GNU Radio, a USRP radio module, and a very big dish antenna.

While theoretically possible using nothing but hardware (as it was originally done), the use of SDR allows for rapid updating and prototyping at a fraction of the cost of hardware. The team was able figure out the protocol from NASA’s original specifications, define it in software and implement a solution that fell well within their budget and schedule. Permission to use the enormous dish antenna at Arecibo in Puerto Rico was the final piece of the puzzle.

Now that they can communicate with the probe, they continue to evaluate the status of its various components with the hopes of being able to gain navigational control.

Court case offers a peek at how H-1B-fueled discrimination works

I am not anti-immigration, not by a long shot. If it weren’t for the open immigration policy in the US during the early part of the 20th century, I wouldn’t be typing this in English and probably wouldn’t be alive at all. But I am very much in favor of honesty. So when I see tech companies lobbying for more H-1B visas while at the same time qualified US citizens are jobless, I have a major problem. A recent court case highlights this issue and is really only the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Tech companies hire H-1B workers because they can pay them less, treat them like crap and there’s little the workers can say or do about it. Meanwhile, US citizens, who must be paid more and have rights are left out in the cold.

It’s time to stop the hypocrisy and call these companies out on their practices. But will we?


Medina Railroad Museum

Remember my recent trip to Manchester and the lack of Lehigh Valley RR museum? This time I did my homework and made sure that the Medina Museum existed, was open and had at least some rolling stock.

The museum owner was very friendly and talkative and even let me into the middle of the model train layout to take some photos. Their rolling stock featured diesel power in the New York Central colors. It was the railroad that went through Medina and and all of the major NY cities and towns.





_MG_0760I’ll have more photos in a later post as there’s more to the story.